Category Archives: Uncategorized
CB asks some very good questions about our State Budget.
Q: For years we heard concerns about the state going over a “fiscal cliff.”
This year that cliff was in the neighborhood of $1.2 Billion needed to maintain the status quo of state government.
If the cliff has been addressed, I missed it.
Q: We were told that even after the mid-year reductions, the current year’s (FY13) budget had an approximate $80 Million shortfall due to certain projected revenues not materializing.
The state constitution prohibits the state from incurring a deficit. The FY13 budget ends on June 30.
If that shortfall has been addressed, I missed it.
The Minimum Foundation Program (“MFP”) for FY13 was recently declared unconstitutional by the LA Supreme Court because the lege failed to properly approve it during the 2012 Regular Session.
As a result, it is as though the FY13 MFP never existed. When that happens the MFP reverts to the formula approved for the previous fiscal year.
The previous year’s MFP provides for a 2.75% increase in funding if the FY MFP is not approved. From what source is the additional 2.75% funded?
The FY12 MFP contained no funding for Bobby Jindal’s statewide voucher program. What happens to the money spent on the vouchers in FY13 that wasn’t authorized?
If these two issues have been addressed, I missed it.
Q: The FY14 budget is funded, in part, by $800 Million in projected savings from privatizing the former LSU hospitals.
Other than for Lallie Kemp, I don’t believe that there is state funding for these state hospitals past October 31.
Other than for Earl K. Long Hospital in Baton Rouge, I don’t believe any of the agreements for private providers to operate the hospitals have been signed.
Without the agreements in place timely, funding for these hospitals will remain the responsibility of the state’s taxpayers.
If we taxpayers have to pick up the tabs for any hospital after October, it seems that the lege will have to come back into a special session to address the matter before October 31.
If this issue has been addressed, I missed it.
Perhaps some lege can explain to me what happened to these fiscal issues. I don’t want to be concerned needlessly about massive cuts in vital state services or massive tax increases in the near future.
Can anyone help me see what I’ve missed?
In addition to those questions, we’ve got another couple for the Jindal Admin and the Legislature
- Where is the money coming from to pay off the unconstitutional voucher expenses? According to The Advocate, the state will owe $6m this month alone with no way to pay for it now that MFP is off the table. Oops. And Bobby the Boy Blunder is promising to continue to pay for the voucher program from general fund. Wow.
- Wasn’t the whole point of the hospital privatizations to save us money? Now we hear that the privatizations will cost $42m of employee costs this year. More money to conjure up for the Jindal Admin.
By Robert Mann
Come with me back to the good old days, when Gov. Bobby Jindal was a fearless crusader against the special interests and the obscene tax credits negotiated by their dastardly lobbyists.
Let us travel all the way to March 19, 2013.
Smoke ‘em if you got ‘em, Louisiana, because Bobby J’s crackpot voucher scheme just took a death blow from the Louisiana Supreme Court. By a vote of 6-1, the Supreme Court invalidated the voucher payment plan, citing the fact that using MFP funds to pay private school tuition was unconstitutional. Read more:
The key issue is whether the source of public school aid — it is called the Minimum Foundation Program, called MFP — can be used to pay for vouchers, which finance tuition and some mandatory fees.
The ruling struck down the MFP funding mechanism that the Louisiana Legislature overwhelmingly approved last year.
State Superintendent of Education John White said earlier that the voucher aid alone costs about $22 million per year.
The state is facing a $1.3 billion shortfall for the upcoming financial year to maintain aid for state services at current levels.
White has said he is confident that, even if vouchers were struck down, state officials would find a way to continue the aid.
He did not spell out specifics. White is in Washington, D.C. Tuesday.
The ruling said: “We agree with the district court that once funds are dedicated to the state’s Minimum Foundation Program for public education, the constitution prohibits those funds from being expended on the tuition costs of nonpublic schools and nonpublic entities.”
Johnny WHITE is surfing his CV for some new gigs. This ship is going way, way down.
Voucher-proponents are rightly dumbfounded, but insist the state will continue to pay for them. With a $1.3 state budget deficit, you can bet that ain’t going to happen.
Voucher oucher indeed.
Bill Cassidy has a problem. And it’s not just Mary Landrieu’s formidable reelection machine.
No, Bill Cassidy’s problem is that his career is born of a contradiction. On one hand, Dr. Cassidy is the affable, moderate liver specialist at Louisiana’s former public hospital in Baton Rouge, Earl K. Long.
On the other hand, politician and Senate-candidate Cassidy is robust opponent of “government-run” health care and President Obama’s Affordable Care Act (which of course is not government run health care, but rather an the incentivizing of care through the private market).
Squishy Bill Cassidy would like it both ways. He’d prefer to make political hay over his fist-shaking at the Federal Government. This kind of vacuous, empty rhetorical politics truly resonates with the blinded-by derangement tea-bagging set. Their politics of resentment are conspicuously devoid of factual information or adherence to reality. But they sloganeer with the best of them. And their obsession with Obamacare as the scourge on the American soul is the most volatile political weapon they possess.
However, Cassidy is a creature of the beast. Instead of the imaginary Government-run health care system he admonishes, Cassidy emerges from the belly of the genuine article.
Let us set this straight. The Charity System is Socialized Medicine. If we need to repeat, you’re not thinking hard enough.
Cassidy worked at “the Earl” for about two decades and developed a lot of “camaraderie” there.
“Do I have some mixed emotions? Absolutely,” Cassidy said.
The Earl K. Long had an “incredibly noble” mission of helping the underserved, Cassidy said. But over the years the patient lines continued to get longer and the medical center was “continually starved of resources,” he said.
“It often felt like it was our team against the world,” Cassidy added.
Politically, Cassidy opposes too much government-run health care and he also backs the repeal of the Affordable Care Act, often known as Obamacare.
“It’s a really complicated set of issues,” Cassidy said.
Cassidy bemoans the budget cuts (but, starve the government beast! Right Bill?) that his ideology prizes as its raison d’etre. His next statement is both laughably hypocritical and pointedly delusional as well:
Cassidy said. “One of the problems I have with government-run health care is when the government runs health care, the people don’t have power.”
Cassidy’s civics might be a little rusty, since he’s been a government employee for so long, so let us resolve this logical quandary for Dr. Cassidy. The people elect the government. The Government runs health care (charity). Therefore, when the Government cuts Charity, the people are cutting Charity. Ergo, the people are in charge. Doc Cassidy complains of the symptom of his own ideological disease. When “conservative” politicians constantly and arbitrarily slash funding for health care, refuse to raise revenue or prioritize resources, and then privatize the public trusts, government health care doesn’t work.
So Bobby J, and presumably politician and Senate candidate Bill Cassidy want to privatize the hospitals. And will the people have a voice then?
Lawmakers are raising questions about whether the Louisiana State University hospital privatization agreements devised by Gov. Bobby Jindal’s administration provide enough public scrutiny of the hundreds of millions of dollars at stake.
Two state senators complained Friday that lucrative deals for private operation of LSU public hospitals lack provisions that guarantee public accountability.
State Sens. Ed Murray and Dan Claitor made their comments as the Joint Legislative Committee on the Budget reviewed not-yet-finalized agreements for private operation of LSU hospitals in Lafayette and New Orleans as well as the $1.2 billion academic medical center under construction.
Meanwhile, committee Chairman Sen. Jack Donahue, R-Mandeville, pressed the Jindal administration for details on the short- and long-term state financial obligation for all LSU hospital takeovers including another six that are still in the works.
“You are a private enterprise taking over a major public purpose,” Murray, D-New Orleans, told hospital executives. “How do we audit those dollars?”
In other words, Doc, if you love our Charity Hospital Earl K. Long, you’re staring at its problem straight in the mirror everyday.
CB Forgotston is a Republican. A conservative Republican. But that hasn’t stopped his open war against the Jindalistas. He’s assailed Bobby on a number of fronts, probably most recently on his ill-fated tax reform idea.
In his latest angle, Forgotston focuses on the transformation of the Capitol, into a with-us or against-us partisanship that comes straight from Washington, DC. And CB says it was imported by former Congressman Bobby Jindal:
The more I watch the goings on at the State Capitol in Baton Rouge, the more it looks like the U.S. Capitol in D.C.
It is preview of what a Bobby Jindal Presidency would look like. Despite what Jindal thinks and a few pundits say, thankfully, there will never be a Jindal Presidency.
Pre-Jindal, there was very little evidence of partisanship in the lege body. There were philosophical divides on issues rather than DC-style partisanship.
Jindal has moved the lege process from a discussion of issues to whether one is for or against Bobby.
Because of Jindal’s consistent inconsistency it is impossible for lege to deal with him based on issues.
This session Jindal supported a billion dollar tax on businesses, but opposed a two cent tax on cell phones.
Jindal supported a $1.05 tax increase on cigarettes, but opposed much smaller ones.
Jindal has opposed the use of one-time money to fund recurring expenditures and now he supports the same.
I could go on, but it suffices to say that when it comes to fiscal issues Jindal has been solidly on both sides of every one.
Gone in 30 days: DOA ignores regulation which requires three-year retention of all public records, including emails
News reporters from other states are quick to point out that Louisiana has one of the strongest public records laws in the country. A New York reporter, for example, was surprised to learn that LouisianaVoice was complaining about a month’s delay in obtaining public records from the Department of Education (DOE) and Division of Administration (DOA).
“I have an FOIA (Freedom of Information Act; the equivalent to Louisiana’s R.S.
By Robert Mann
I'll stipulate that Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal is not a racist.
Nor are the Republican members of the House Health and Welfare Committee who Wednesday voted unanimously to reject billions in federal funds to expand the state's Medicaid program to the state's working poor.
But I do believe that Jindal and some opponents of Medicaid expansion are employing nasty racial stereotypes and ugly coded language to defeat it.
Stu Rothenberg over at Roll Call explains Mary Landrieu’s [correct] vote on background checks:
Landrieu always depends on a huge turnout in the black community and a near sweep of the black vote to win election, and voting against the president on guns might have poisoned her relationship with that community. And if Mary loses black voters, Mary can’t win.
In 2008, according to exit polling in the Senate contest, when she last stood for re-election, Landrieu won 96 percent of the black vote to 2 percent for Republican John Kennedy, the state treasurer. Interestingly, Landrieu received a larger percentage of the black vote in Louisiana than did Barack Obama (94 percent), according to the presidential exit poll.
Landrieu lost white voters to Kennedy, 65 percent to 33 percent, but she easily outperformed Obama that year among whites, since he carried just 14 percent of white voters in the state in his White House bid.
Landrieu ended up winning with 52 percent statewide, while Obama drew only 40 percent of the vote in the Pelican State.
Obviously, Landrieu needs to hit certain percentages of both black and white votes to win, but if politics starts with base voters, Landrieu knows which voters she can’t afford to lose during her 2014 re-election bid. She must have a huge black turnout, and she must win almost unanimous support in that community. Her support in the white community, after all, is not likely to increase between 2008 and 2014.
Of course, if Mayor Bloomberg is going to play in #LASEN 2014, this vote is definitely going to help. Howard Wolfson, Bloomberg’s political chief, lays it plainly here:
By Robert Mann
Forcing Gov. Bobby Jindal to abandon his ill-advised, half-baked tax swap must have been liberating for those Louisiana legislators who have long lived in fear of the petulant governor and his vindictive staff.
Of course, their sudden rush of independence may have less to do with courage and more to do with Jindal’s job approval rating – currently wheels up in the ditch at a dismal 38 percent.
According to informed sources, (that’s everyone with a pulse), Bobby Jindals SIGNATURE TAX SCHEME is not going forward. The bill must
originate in the Louisiana House Ways and Means Committee, and that body’s Chairman Joel Robideaux put out this statement this morning:
“Over the last several months we have all grappled with the issues involved when considering the repeal of the income tax…I have reviewed the analysis of the policy community…my preference is that we should indefinitely defer consideration of these bills.”
CB Forgotston, who originated the dead-or-alive clock on the tax swap, isn’t convinced: